Nevis recognises bureaucracy hinders FDI
CHARLESTOWN, Nevis, Thursday October 12, 2011 – A low World Bank ranking for Nevis on the ease of doing business on the island has spurred the government to making sweeping changes to the statutory body responsible for attracting inward investment.
The Nevis Investment Promotion Agency (NIPA) Ordinance currently before the Nevis Island Assembly now allows for the appointment of a Chairman of the Board and an Executive Director for the Agency.
Deputy Premier of Nevis, Hensley Daniel, acknowledged as he seconded the bill being piloted through the Assembly by Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance Joseph Parry, that this change would likely improve the island’s level of competitiveness, once a Minister was no longer directly responsible for the implementation of the Agency’s programmes.
“The World Bank Study on Doing Business in the Caribbean puts us way down the ladder and that we need to be able to climb up and move forward. We believe if we give the opportunity to someone else from the private sector or public sector, we can move quickly to move through the bureaucratic maze that investors have to go through in order to set up business.
“It will help us [Nevis] to become more competitive and we will certainly get a wider cross section of ideas. If we are to improve our competitive edge, we have to move expeditiously to avoid the direct engagement of the Minister. In a way, it is an attempt at the devolution of authority,” said Daniel.
He expressed hope that the new move would bring a greater level of confidence or interest to investors, since investors were getting increasingly weary, in some countries, of having to deal directly or all the time with ministers of government and would allow for greater ease.
“So we believe with this amendment we will allow for greater ease and certainly, since in politics, perception is the only truth, people will perceive that the Agency can function without the direct engagement of the Ministers on a day to day basis,” said the deputy premier.
Daniel described the old mode of doing business where the NIPA chairman had to come from Cabinet as too “incestuous”.
“We thought that was an incestuous relationship because the Permanent Secretary should really be monitoring what is happening in all the aspects. So here we come again with this amendment to remove politicians from the process to give other citizens the chance and it allows for also a greater engagement of ideas,” he said.
The deputy premier noted that the amendment suggested would invest greater confidence in the people of Nevis and give them a chance to put their ideas and training to work for the benefit of the entire population.